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Okolona native, and former NFL star Jack Gregory dies

Gregory was 74 years old.

Posted: Mar 2, 2019 8:36 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2019 11:06 PM

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (Obituary) - Jack Gregory, Jr., longtime legendary NFL player, farmer, businessman, philanthropist and Chief Executive Officer of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, tackled the last obstacle of sickness and received the victory at 6 a.m. Saturday, March 2nd in Monroe County at age 74.

Known affectionately and respectfully by most as “Big Jack”, the 6’ 5’ giant of a man was born in Tupelo to the late Earl Jackson “Jack” Gregory, an NFL All Star in his own right, and Earlene McComb Gregory.

Gregory family

A man with a gregarious personality and vivacious wit, Gregory graduated from Okolona High School in l962 where he was an award winning standout and All-Conference athlete in football, track and basketball.

Gregory accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga where he was an Honorable Mention All-American playing tight end for the Moccasins.  Although drafted his junior year, he instead transferred to Delta State University where he graduated and set the DSU college record with 557 yards as a tight end.

His pro football career began with the Cleveland Browns, the team his father played for in the l940s. A dominating defensive end, he excelled as a defensive end and tackle, becoming one of the most ferocious quarterback sackers in the NFL.  In l970, in the Browns opening game against the New York Jets, Gregory sacked legendary quarterback Joe Namath in the first televised Monday Night Football game.

Jack became the first free agent in Cleveland Browns history and chose the New York Giants. In l972, Gregory had his finest season, leading the NFL with 21 quarterback sacks, making him NFL Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.

Gregory retired from professional football in 1979, playing his last season with his beloved Browns.

Gregory returned to Mississippi and became a model civic activist, philanthropist, farmer and businessman. He loved the lands of Chickasaw and Monroe County where he farmed its lands and raised cattle.

He formerly owned Jack Gregory Enterprises, a furniture manufacturing firm.  Gregory devoted many hours to his favorite charity, the Easter Seals Campaign where he served several times as National Campaign Chairman and National Board President in l988, achieving the designation as longest serving professional athlete telethon chairman in the organization’s long history.

Gregory became a talent scout for the Denver Broncos.  He was a licensed professional auctioneer, and was founder, president and ringmaster for Rebel Auction Company.

In l993, he was chosen to be executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, a position he held for 11 years.  An Okolona and Northeast Mississippi icon, Gregory enjoyed his last years being a citizen and purveyor of good times and strong fellowship with his thousands of friends from everywhere.

A former Mississippi National Guard member, he was a lifelong member of the Okolona Presbyterian Church, the Okolona Country Club and the Okolona American Legion.

A service celebrating his life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 4, 2019 at the Okolona Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Randy Lewman and Rev. Jimmy Bryan officiating. Burial will be in the Gregory family plot at Oddfellows Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Holland Funeral Directors-Okolona Chapel and from 11 a.m. to service time on Monday at Okolona Presbyterian Church.

Big Jack leaves behind his wife, Susan Brooks Gregory of Okolona, who he married Aug. 7, 2000; his son, E. J. Gregory, III and his wife, Charla of Oxford and a daughter, Madison Brook Gregory of Canton; two step children, Michael Carter (Brandy) of Wren and Amanda Hicklin (Eric). His grandchildren, Riley, Sydni, Thomas, Lucas and Ayden. His only brother, Judge John Andrew Gregory (Claire) of Okolona, and his family, and thousands of friends across Mississippi and around the country. He was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Gwen Massey Gregory.

Memorials may be made to Okolona Presbyterian Church, 118 Robertson St., Okolona, MS. 38860, Tupelo Lee Humane Society, P. O. Box 2143, Tupelo, MS. 38801 or to Wags, 1317 Old Hwy 6, Amory, MS. 38821. Condolences may be e-mailed to hollandfuneraldirectors@comcast.net

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333180

Reported Deaths: 7502
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22901279
Hinds22780438
Harrison19569326
Rankin14851287
Jackson14342251
Madison10692227
Lee10437179
Jones8746169
Forrest8210157
Lauderdale7561243
Lowndes6790150
Lamar669688
Lafayette6459124
Washington5516139
Pearl River4915149
Bolivar4909134
Oktibbeha478498
Panola4723112
Marshall4654106
Warren4640127
Pontotoc440473
Monroe4255137
Union425379
Neshoba4182180
Lincoln4098115
Hancock405088
Leflore3565125
Pike3530112
Tate349588
Alcorn343974
Sunflower343093
Adams333387
Scott331775
Yazoo331173
Simpson314890
Copiah313867
Itawamba310180
Coahoma308785
Tippah298868
Prentiss292963
Covington282483
Marion279580
Leake278475
Wayne270743
Grenada266388
George261651
Newton256664
Tishomingo236869
Winston235584
Jasper226148
Attala220873
Chickasaw216360
Stone210237
Holmes195674
Clay192254
Clarke182080
Tallahatchie181742
Calhoun177532
Smith175935
Yalobusha169440
Walthall141548
Lawrence137726
Greene135734
Amite132843
Noxubee131635
Perry131038
Montgomery130944
Carroll124531
Webster117532
Jefferson Davis113334
Tunica111127
Benton104625
Claiborne104331
Kemper100729
Humphreys99133
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw81319
Wilkinson74632
Jefferson69728
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 570667

Reported Deaths: 11483
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson834821584
Mobile45819855
Madison36785532
Tuscaloosa26757465
Shelby26612255
Montgomery25739624
Baldwin23810325
Lee16801181
Calhoun15130332
Morgan14941289
Etowah14662368
Marshall12806235
Houston11515292
Elmore10654217
St. Clair10521251
Limestone10472158
Cullman10257204
Lauderdale9991253
DeKalb9298191
Talladega8739187
Walker7594286
Autauga7419113
Jackson7269117
Blount7184139
Colbert6583142
Coffee6045131
Dale5326117
Russell465842
Chilton4645117
Covington4579125
Franklin444381
Tallapoosa4379157
Escambia420082
Chambers3852125
Dallas3688163
Clarke364462
Marion3380106
Pike324879
Lawrence3192101
Winston291072
Bibb280165
Geneva271583
Marengo258567
Barbour243461
Pickens239162
Butler236172
Hale231878
Fayette224564
Henry205145
Randolph194944
Cherokee193948
Monroe192141
Washington177139
Macon167552
Crenshaw164458
Clay162559
Cleburne159145
Lamar149538
Lowndes144354
Wilcox129231
Bullock125642
Conecuh118130
Coosa116029
Perry109928
Sumter108032
Greene97836
Choctaw63825
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Columbus
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Tuesday more very hot and humid conditions will be the rule across our area. Some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible at times. A few heavy and hefty thunderstorms cannot be ruled out of the question at times.
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